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L. James Gibson
Geoscience Research Institute
Does life have a purpose, or are we here merely by chance? Everyone has probably been confronted with that question at some point in life. Many of us have concluded that life does have a purpose, that there is a Creator who had us in mind. But just when we think we are sure of the answer, some unexpected crisis may bring the question back to haunt us. Is there anything in nature itself that points to an intelligent Designer?
In this special issue, Dr. Javor suggests that life itself provides evidence that there must be a Designer. That evidence can be divided into four arguments.
Dr. Javor’s first argument is that living matter is organized into interdependent systems, arranged hierarchically. A large number of interdependent components must all be in place in order for the living system to function. The term “irreducible complexity” has been applied to such systems, with the inference that such systems require intelligent design to come into existence. An intelligent Creator is the best explanation for the interdependent systems of living organisms.
A second argument is that the disequilibrium of living systems could not arise spontaneously. Life is based on many series of interacting chemical reactions, none of which must be allowed to reach chemical equilibrium. All chemical reactions tend toward equilibrium, but chemical equilibrium in living cells means death. How, then, could non-equilibrium conditions originate in a nonliving system? There seems to be no naturalistic answer to this question. An intelligent Creator provides the best available explanation for the origins of the chemical disequilibrium that is responsible for making cells alive.
The third argument is also chemical in nature. What is the source for the biomolecules required for life? These biomolecules apparently require highly improbable conditions for their origins. Conditions to produce one essential type of molecule may prohibit formation of another type of molecule equally necessary for life. Chance seems unable to produce any of the complex biopolymers needed for life.
Molecular sequences with informational content for specific functions are vital for life processes. The potential number of different sequences is exceedingly vast, and it seems inconceivable that the small set of sequences appropriate for life could be preferentially created by random processes. Again, chance seems an implausible explanation for the specific informational content of biopolymers. The best available explanation for the existence of the biomolecules of life is an intelligent Creator.
Dr. Javor’s fourth argument is that complex functions, such as seen in living cells, are highly unlikely to arise by chance. Random aggregations of components are highly unlikely to produce any useful function. Functionality of complex systems typically depends on components which are pre-designed. But pre-design implies an intelligent designer and therefore a purpose. Thus, the complex functions of the living cell point to an intelligent Creator as the best explanation for their existence.
These are strong arguments for a Creator. However, they should not be mistaken for absolute proof. God’s existence cannot be proved by science. Many intelligent people have chosen to reject arguments such as those presented here. The point of this presentation is not to claim that we have no other choice than to accept the existence of a Creator, but to show that we do have the choice to accept His existence. Not only is it reasonable to do so, but, in view of the properties of living organisms, it is the best choice available.
Cnidarian Venom Evolution: Nothing New Under the Sun
Cnidarians appear to have recruited as toxins the same kinds of proteins recruited by many other venomous animals. However, toxin diversity within groups of organisms does not appear to be related to the alleged evolutionary history of the various groups.